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Old 06-01-2019, 02:57 PM   #11
fotonchev
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

I didn't mean all of this to be in one mail. I was just summarizing the steps from the above answers. I completely agree with you, thanks!
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Old 06-01-2019, 03:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

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What’s your goal here? You’ve taken the good advice above and gone all Leeroy Jenkins with it. Don’t ask what options you have. Say you will gladly sign a release. If they read it and like it, then a referral could be in play.
this.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:03 PM   #13
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

Have to admit, I'm glad Will jumped in here and straight up said that the e-mail is not necessarily a soft pass (following similar sentiments from others).

I think we can be too quick to act like armchair psychologists on here -- being quick to interpret anything short of a "yes" as an outright "no." Which is understandable, as cynicism can build due to years of "nos" from the industry. However, some of the advice on here could've easily influenced OP to say "thank you anyway, and goodbye" -- costing him/her a valuable opportunity if the producer was open to just sending a release instead.

It never hurts to clarify with someone exactly what an e-mail means or if there is a suitable alternative. The worst they can do is ignore you, and we're all prepared for that anyway : )
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:04 PM   #14
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

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That is not a soft pass. A soft pass is, "This is not our cup of tea" or "this is not quite right for us." Those are soft passes. (I've written plenty of those letters for others and on my own behalf.) We would also "soft pass" by telling them to send it through my boss' agency/agent. That would do the trick too. They could take care of all for us and keep my boss' hands clean, so to speak.

Now, if that was meant as a pass letter than it deserves to be in the Hall of Fame for the one of the "Worst, Most Misleading Pass Letter." The person should be let go from the company. Seriously.

It's a simple question. Do you have a rep? That's all. Write them back and say, you are not currently repped but would be more than willing to sign a release. You have nothing to lose by doing that. (I was typing as finalact4 was posting. See her note too.)

If I read or heard a query that I really liked. I had the permission to offer to send a release form. Didn't do it often but absolutely could and would if something caught my eye.
I’m glad you posted this because seeing people call OP’s situation a soft pass really frustrated me, hence my earlier reply. I’ve been noticing a lot of questionable advice (and unnecessarily harsh debate) around here lately, so I love seeing DDP chime in for the benefit of aspiring writers who don’t know any better.

ETA: UpandComing, just saw your post, and... exactly.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

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ETA: UpandComing, just saw your post, and... exactly.
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:27 AM   #16
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

It seems my case opened a good discussion. Both sides have their arguments. The industry has become so harsh that even a soft "yes" these days could be accepted as "no". What worries me a lot is that we all depend on the gatekeepers' taste.

I'm going to spark a lot of controversy with my opinion but there is a broken connection between the artists (from writers to animators, VFX people etc.) and the directors/producers. They are all heavily guarded from being contacted directly and a lot of good projects go to the bin just because they never get to the people who may actually enjoy making them.

Please don't jump on me, it's just my view from the outside, people inside the industry may have different opinion
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:34 AM   #17
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

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...after querying a very respected producer and his company I've got a great response to my pitch:

"Thank you for reaching out! We really appreciate the interest in our company regarding this project. It sounds very exciting! Do you have an agent or a lawyer who you can submit it through? "...
I've had luck submitting to prodcos with no-unsolicited policies through an attorney, but the best part is afterward: In subsequent opportunities they've often let me submit directly (when I ask nicely).

The same is true for those who do accept submissions, but require an NDA initially. Often, they ignore it later on. It's as if the NDA for the first one was just a technicality to see if you're professional and serious. (I can't imagine their own attorney has given an eager go-ahead, but I'm sure it's mostly about practicality and efficiency, and that the legal issues all come out in the wash later on.)

But, in either situation, it's like the prodcos have satisfied themselves about something, or I've proven myself somewhat, or else they're merely as eager as I am to bypass the intermediary at this early stage.

I don't know if this also happens with agent/manager submissions to prodcos - that you can submit directly after the initial formal submission.

In other words, if you have no other choice, think of hiring an attorney for submissions as an investment that will pay off in multiple ways - both for possible ease-of-submissions later on, and because you'll need one eventually anyway.
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:50 AM   #18
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

IMHO, there aren’t a lot of great scripts out there going unnoticed. They may at this point be undiscovered. Very good writers with good material will, generally, get discovred eventually. Contests, queries, networking. A compelling logline that easily communicates THIS IS A MOVIE (preferably in a high ROI/cost effective genre) should generate reads.
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Old 06-02-2019, 11:34 AM   #19
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

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I'm going to spark a lot of controversy with my opinion but there is a broken connection between the artists (from writers to animators, VFX people etc.) and the directors/producers. They are all heavily guarded from being contacted directly and a lot of good projects go to the bin just because they never get to the people who may actually enjoy making them.

Please don't jump on me, it's just my view from the outside, people inside the industry may have different opinion
No, this is definitely true. For actors as well. I can't tell you how many times I've heard from popular actor (or actress) friends who've found out their teams passed on something they would have loved to do. It's important for a team to protect the client. They want to be sure a project is already set up with a great director and/or producer attached, sure. But even beyond that they tend to assume they know what an actor is looking for and the sad truth is many times they just don't, or, they just don't care. Many times actors are looking to branch out of their usual niche, which makes the team uncomfortable so they ignore their clients' request and just keep sending them the same crap where they'll play the same role they always do and the movie will be #1 at the box office for a week and then be forgotten. That's why sometimes you see A-listers hopping around from agency to agency. They're desperate to find someone who's going to freaking listen to them and fulfill their request instead of thinking it's their job to protect the talent from themselves. Not all actors are mindless babies who need someone to tell them how to function, lol. Many of them ARE, ya know... ARTISTS.

Same from a veteran cinematographer turned director friend who's done a lot of work on one of the big superhero studios' films. He had to switch agencies recently b/c his team was simply not helping him with the kind of material he was looking for. They wanted him to keep collecting those paychecks as a secondary DP on studio tentpoles and ignored his request for material of substance to step up as director. He even took a project I'd written to his old reps and said, "I want to direct this, help us package." and they effectively completely ignored him.

All that being said, you also have to balance this with realism. Actors, directors, etc do have everybody coming at them - often times to use them ("hey, attach to this and THEN we can go get some money/interest from others"), so a certain level of gatekeeping is necessary. I mean for cripes sake, one time I had people find out I knew somebody, and they started sending me scripts for this person. Uber obnoxious. I asked "Do you want me to ignore this, or forward to your agent, or...?" and she said, "No, could you read it and send to me if you think it's good? I trust your opinion." It's like... wow. Thanks, but also, how sad that she felt I knew her taste better than her agents at the time.

All any of this does for me though is highlight the core of this ATA/WGA issue. Which is that the agency system is very sadly broken. Look, there's a lot of AMAZING agents who truly understand and protect their clients and make them priority, and I've been blessed to know and/or work with some of them. But the system as a whole is incredibly biased, incredibly broken and built now more than ever upon incredible greed.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:36 PM   #20
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Default Re: Project requested, no agent/manager to send it

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...All that being said, you also have to balance this with realism. Actors, directors, etc do have everybody coming at them - often times to use them ("hey, attach to this and THEN we can go get some money/interest from others")...
Even at my outsider stage as a puny unsold writer, for a couple of low-budget, art house-type projects, I've begun to approach actors/directors with informal requests for attachment, or even something more formal:
Letters of Intent

This isn't to use them at all, at least in any negative way. There's no commitment to these things, and the other talent and financiers I'd approach know this very well. Mostly, it's just to get a bankable name associated with the project, in some way, in any way, in an attempt to assemble some of the many, many pieces to help get things rolling.

Sure, no serious artist is going to let their name be associated with a stupid project or anything against their wishes, but especially in the Indie world I imagine these informal arrangements happen by the truckload. I'm sure the vast majority of them don't come near to making the trade magazines.

And yes, I personally have gotten nowhere with these things, so far. At my unproduced stage nobody's going to attach unless the project has a major contest win or referral, and even then not unless there's a Producer-of-Record attached. Thus I find myself back at square one: Trying to induce a producer to take on the project. Yet, haven't we all seen websites of some of these who've said "packaged projects" (a few or even a single element) are given preference?

It does seem in this business, from the Indie realm through to the Studios, nobody wants to be the first to commit.

So, while Goldman said "Nobody knows anything," I say "Nobody wants to go first."
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